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CONLANG  June 2003, Week 1

CONLANG June 2003, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Musical languistics - Mass Reply

From:

James Worlton <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 7 Jun 2003 10:03:16 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (117 lines)

Much snipping in order to be brief:

--- Jan van Steenbergen <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:
>
> I agree with Sally: I very much like "Through the
> edge". A sensual work! It
> sounds very French, and I don't think that
> impression is only due to the
> instrumentation.
> I like the fragments of your electro-acoustic
> compositions too. Very
> athmospheric, if that is a word in English. However,
> I've some trouble
> understanding the fourth piece, Aliquot-one.
>
> Two questions:
> - What is a Disklavier?

A piano (made by Yamaha) which functions just like a
normal piano (mechanical action, hammers, strings,
etc.) that can be controled by MIDI. In essence, a
next-generation player piano with digital control.

> - Is there any particular reason why the title
> "Concerto for Organ and
> Orchestra" is not italicised? (I'm curious about
> that piece, BTW. I have a
> strong weakness for organ concertoes by Poulenc and
> ... what's his name?
> Malcolm Williamson or Peter Dickinson?)

It is not italicized because it is generic. I don't
italicize generic musical forms when used as titles.
And the Poulenc is one of the greatest examples of
organ+orchestra in existence. I'm not familiar with
the Williamson; I have heard the Dickinson once. My
other favorites are the Copland Symphony for organ and
orchestra, Flor Peeter's Concerto, and Joseph Jongen's
Symphonie Concertante.

> Well, I you will allow me to launch a terrible
> cliché: everything is relative.
> Indeed, how dissonant a dissonant is depends on the
> context.
> BTW: Is there any difference between music and
> acoustics? If you ask me, a
> dissonant in acoustics is also a dissonant in music.
> Nothing wrong with
> dissonants in music, of course :) .

I don't agree that there is no difference between
music and acoustics. Acoustics is a science. Music is
the use of that science to create art.

>
> > I don't disagree with anything you have said. So I
> > should clarify what I meant. What I meant was that
> if
> > a composer always tries to break new territory
> they
> > are likely to produce little. Certainly composers
> > should always try new things. And most do, but
> within
> > their own "language." Composers should always try
> to
> > improve their craft (yes, craft). Thereby their
> art
> > becomes more "artistic."
>
> Partly agreed. The bottleneck is the word "new" (in:
> "always try new things").
> Who decides what is new? What is new for one
> composer can be old stuff for
> another.

After having taught composition students for 4 years,
getting them to write a coherent *tonal* melody was a
new experience for them, even though they thought they
had been doing it all along. :)))

> I
> try to write music that suits me, that's all.

As all of us composers do, I hope! Just that what
suits you may not suit me; what suits me may not suit
Danny Elfman, who may not suit James Horner..... ad
infinitum.

> I
> completely don't care if it is
> new or not, and if it could also have been written
> in the 1930s or the 1880s,
> that's fine to me. As long as it is well-written and
> recognisably mine.

I personally don't want to sound like the past in the
sense that what I write
"could-have-been-written-then", but the past offers a
wealth of tried and true techniques that every
composer should have at their [1] command.

[1]Notice the use of a gender-neutral pronoun here. :P


=====
James Worlton
-----------------
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.
                 -Unknown

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